George Scott claims his success as one of Middlesex’s Vitality Blast boundary sweepers is more about instinct than the foot speed developed within another sporting love.
The Seaxes’ all-rounder played just about every sport as a youngster, with rugby competing with cricket for his affections.
However, the sniping bursts made from fly-half to avoid the clutches of the opposition pack aren’t apparently the key to patrolling the ropes in the domestic game’s shortest format.
“I don’t know if the speed comes from when I played rugby,” he said.
“A lot of it’s about trying to anticipate and get moving almost as the batsman is hitting the ball.
“So, I’m really just watching him, which might make me look a bit quicker than I am.
“We’ve got a massive focus this season with assistant coach Nic Pothas on getting fielders in the right positions and things, so they always stick me out on the long boundary, plus Gubbo (Nick Gubbins) at deep square leg and Sowts (Nathan Sowter) somewhere else in the deep because they are so quick.”
The tactic seems to be working with Middlesex chalking up three wins from four matches so far in the campaign – a far cry from last season where they finished bottom, losing their last eight matches.
The upturn in fortune mirrors that of Scott himself, who’s gone from the odd appearance to being a regular in all formats in what is the last year of his contract at Lord’s.
For the 23-year-old, forced to choose between cricket and rugby while part of the Middlesex Academy set-up, it feels like a significant moment in his career.
“This is what I’ve been looking forward to for a long time now,” he continued.
“It’s great to be contributing in all formats. It feels like I’m playing meaningful cricket now and learning so much. My career is moving forward.”
Scott’s promotion to regular first-team duties appears part of a regime of innovation introduced by new head coach Stuart Law, perhaps best seen in Vitality Blast where momentum can shift one way and then the other in a matter of a few deliveries.
It’s meant Hemel Hempstead-born Scott and the rest of the middle-order have to be prepared to chop and change along with demand.
“Our batting order is pretty fluid and situational,” said Scott.
“When we are getting towards the back end of the innings the team is looking to the likes of me and Simmo (John Simpson) to come in and whack a few and to potentially have right and left-hand combinations as well.
“So, we’ve all got our pads on and it is kind of situational as to who goes in.”
As for those stints fielding on the boundary, Scott has carried them out in front of some of the biggest crowds of his career.
Naturally, the shorter format attracts a different demographic from Specsavers County Championship cricket, leaving Scott exposed to the banter of opposition supporters.
He admits it is often not dinner table conversation, but you have to learn to enjoy it.
“A few things get said that can’t really be repeated, but to be fair that is part of the fun as well,” he added.
“It’s a hell of a lot worse at places like Chelmsford and Taunton, where the crowd is a little bit more on top of you.
“But interacting with the crowd is part of the experience. I think you have to embrace that kind of thing.
“You can take it in one of two ways. It can either heap pressure on you or you can try and embrace it and enjoy it and why wouldn’t you do that when you are playing in front of a full house with massive crowds behind you.”
Middlesex resume their campaign on Thursday night when they entertain Kent at Lord’s.